Staying up late listening to Toto, eating carrots and reading old blog posts, the unease that comes from seeing where you were compared to where you are now, and how little things change over time.
Charlotte’s most prized stuffed animal “Pinky,” discoloured now and more grey than pink, named for esoteric reasons known only to her and probably stemming from the night she got her pinky tip amputated in the steel jaws of a security gate in a drop-off childcare and how that really fucked our date night sideways and added a dark passage to her formative years, age 3.
Now the greying, tired Pinky, a bunny rabbit that looks mauled by a dog or left out in the rain too long, but it’s Charlotte’s addictive love that’s worn it down and come to represent something clingy and comfortable through the blank plastic eyes only she can see life behind.
We go to a “panto,” short for pantomime I think, which could include puppets, none of us know for sure, but Charlotte’s scared shitless of puppets and wax figures, and Lily’s winding her up at night in bed revealing plot points from a murder mystery she’s drafting where the victims get turned into wax and burned, and I have to tell Charlotte to ignore it, it’s not real, it’s just made up.
All the Irish kids are pooling into the Victorian theatre in their rugby shirts, track suits, football jerseys — and I imagine what I’d do if there was some random shooting, how I’d leap on my kids and take a bullet for them, but it’s Ireland and the cops aren’t even armed here because they don’t need to be, it’s civilised.
Van Morrison, even when he stopped drinking for a time and got into religion, sounded kind of “white Jazz,” still sounds good in the glittering restaurant overhead: Someone Like You, which could be a slow dance on a cruise ship with sweet drinks, a bad cover band.
Watching Charlotte from the other side of the room on her Hewlett-Packard playing a video game or an app, making exaggerated mouth gestures like a bag woman on a bus, she says to me in the theatre Dad, don’t write about me — and I have no idea how she knows.
The Brazen Head, Ireland’s oldest bar, established in 1198 which no one can prove or disprove — quintessentially comfy with leather and worn down wood, a Bob Dylan song from 50 years ago, maybe more — our flat has a distinct smell that’s mainly must, maybe mildew, and worse under the sink where they keep the pots, and comes off when I steam the vegetables like they’re basting in the must, but after a time you get used to it and it starts to feel like home in a kitchen that’s smaller than the kids’ bathroom in the States and not big enough to swing a cat.
I take a picture with my phone of a T-shirt that has a copy of the Easter Proclamation of 1916 and look at busts of Patrick Pearse who led the uprising, relative to my step-dad John, who spoke disparagingly of him which makes sense because he was English, and Patrick would have been an embarrassment to that side of his family, his dad’s, for drawing all that attention to himself and getting executed over it, but here in Dublin they’ve named a street after him, and when we check in at the bed and breakfast on the west coast for our first time here in 2009 the owners look up and mention it’s an odd spelling of the name isn’t it, and had I heard of him? And I hadn’t, and they have to tell me politely it’s probably best I don’t wear that orange sweater much, and I have to look it up on the Internet later.